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ALISON & JACK - Adzooks

ALISON & JACK - Adzooks
Private Label FCD017

An interesting collection from two performers who, despite their connections to my part of the world, are new to me. This is, apparently, their third foray into the studio, and the result is intriguing and mostly successful.

In broad terms, the tracks are equally divided into self-penned and traditional pieces, plus one instrumental track and a version of the Whistling Gypsy Rover - which one tends to forget is not traditional. Alison’s voice (somewhat reminiscent of Shirley Collins to my ear) is ideally suited to the traditional material, and her singing style is clean, true and undecorated, which gives a different slant to songs like Lovely On The Water and Handsome Sally. The new songs are a bit more of a mixed bag; I very much enjoyed Keziah Burnett, a tragic tale worthy of Thomas Hardy at his least optimistic, but one or two of the others seemed a little forced, and the delivery was a bit rushed. However, the mainly Somerset-based inspiration for three of the songs has been well chosen in terms of the strength of the stories, so the result is still capable of carrying the listener through the song.

The instrumental accompaniment was relatively simple, which matched the singing style well, with no real fireworks – proper accompaniment that didn’t detract from the singing and, on occasions, enhanced the end result.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.